Natural Vision Therapy – Origins

About Dr. Bates, MD


Back in the early 1900’s there was an ophthalmologist named William H. Bates (1860 – 1931) who became convinced that blurriness of vision was due to eye-strain which stemmed mainly from mental strain. Naturally his theories were very controversial at that time, but Dr. Bates was able to help many people restore good vision with very simple activities. He felt that glasses were more like a cast on a broken limb. Glasses compensate for the weakness, but do nothing to correct the situation. In fact, most people who wear compensating lenses often findWilliam H. Bates photo their vision gets weaker with their use, eventually requiring stronger lenses.

Another of Bates’s controversial ideas is that he believed that the length and shape of the eyeball controlled visual clarity, which the people of his day, and eye doctors even today, believe is completely controlled by changes in the shape of the lens within the eye. This put him and his followers at odds with conventional medicine and got a lot of natural vision practitioners in trouble.

Natural vision therapists today tend to agree with both camps. The ability of the eye to change shape by virtue of the muscles that hold and move it has merit, and Dr. Bates was able to conduct experiments to prove his theory that accommodation (visual focusing) is affected by the shape of the eyeball.

Likewise, there is evidence that tiny muscles inside the eyeball change the shape of the lens and that can also affect where light lands as it enters the eye. Now we have two belief systems, and both are very likely to be true. If your eye muscles tend to be overly tight, or unevenly tight, depending on which muscles are dominating, this can create nearsightedness or farsightedness and/or astigmatism. Likewise, if there is tension in the tiny muscles that control the lens inside of the eye, blurry vision results.

In the world of natural vision therapy, the entire idea is to get the muscles that are creating the problems to relax and behave in a balanced manner, rather than being torqued in an uneven manner. “Relaxed” does not mean floppy and loose like a rag doll. It means something more like “dynamic relaxation,” a term coined by Aldous Huxley in his book, The Art of Seeing, 1942. Most people have had the experience of an overly tense muscle somewhere in their bodies. Plenty of people know what it is like to have overly tense muscles for long periods of time. What is most desirable is to have muscles that have good tone and enough strength to do their jobs, with flexibility to move, stretch and contract as needed. This is true of your neck, shoulders, back and every muscle in your body including the tiny muscles in and around your eyes.

Dr. Bates made an effort to prove his theories and opened clinics, went into school classrooms and did his very best to spread his ideas to the world to help as many people as he could to have better eyesight without the use of any artificial means. It is a tribute to his followers who had to endure persecution by the mainstream medical system, that natural vision therapy is still available today.

And I use those techniques, and others, to help you Reverse the Blur!